As I have been thinking about November and what to write about, gratitude kept coming to my mind which seemed perfect for this time of year. I think gratitude and having a positive outlook on life go hand in hand. It’s a matter of knowing how to have these 2 key elements to get us through those tough trials in life.
When I was going through a very hard time I thought a lot about, how can I overcome this? Am I truly doing my part? I was physically challenged, but how can I do more to help myself get through this. While doing treatments, I felt strongly I not only needed to work hard physically to come up from this debilitating illness, but I felt strongly I needed to work mentally on my outlook as well. I read uplifting articles, read inspirational quotes, did meditation, attempted yoga and tried the best I could to get out on sunny days. Anything I could think of I was determined to do it. I wanted to learn how I could do better not only for myself, but for my family.
There is good scientific evidence that practicing gratitude is good for our emotional and physical health. Gratitude helps with depression, helps with feeling peaceful, helps to get more sleep, is great for your heart, is a good brain booster and strengthens overall sense of well-being and quality of life.
One article I referred to during that tough time had 3 principles that I felt helped me and I hope it would help you as well.
Principle 1: You have the power to choose your attitude.
You may not have control over the events in your life, but you do get to choose how you will experience those events. It is the one choice no one can take from you. We learned this from Viktor Frankl, who spent time in Nazi concentration camps. They took everything he had, but they could not take away his power to choose his attitude, he said. Even though he was in the worst situation imaginable, he chose love over fear.
You have the power to choose love over fear, too.
Principle 2: When choosing your attitude, you have only two choices: fear, or trust and love (every other state falls under one of those). This makes the choice a simple one.
Here are some other suggestions for a positive attitude:
In every moment of your life, you can consciously choose a mindset of trust and love, or you can react unconsciously without thinking. If you do this, your subconscious mind will usually choose fear. I recommend consciousness.
Conscious choice requires you to wake up and become aware of what you are experiencing and how you are reacting to that experience. You have to get off autopilot and choose how you want to feel in this moment.
This will require practice and effort if you have been asleep most of your life. You may also have created some subconscious bad habits: things like taking things too personally, over-generalizing, catastrophizing or creating unnecessary drama to get attention. You will have to start catching these behaviors and consciously choosing something better.
The first step is choosing to see the process of life as a safe one.
Principle 3: Choosing to see life as a classroom, not a test, will take your fear of failure off the table. When you choose to trust the process of life and see it as your perfect process of growth, it will take the fear of loss off the table. Living from this place will create more peace and joy.
I recommend you make this your official policy: life is a classroom and my value isn’t on the line. Give yourself permission to be a work in progress, a person who doesn't have to be perfect. This mindset will change the way you feel about mistakes and misfortune.
Dr. Martin Seligman, in his book "Learned Optimism," said the main difference between optimists and pessimists is that pessimists see failure and misfortune as permanent and personal, while optimists see misfortune as non-permanent and non-personal, meaning they don't let mistakes affect their value or define who they are.
You get to decide how you want to experience each situation in your life. I highly recommend seeing each experience as a lesson or a location on your journey, which has nothing to do with who you are.
Groucho Marx, of all people, said, "Each morning when I open my eyes, I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
I know that it is hard to stay positive when things go wrong, but the only other choice (fear and depression) will make you more miserable — so keep working at choosing trust and love, and it will get easier over time.
You can do this.
Over the years I have noticed living with gratitude and and having a positive outlook on life is a daily effort. It is a try, try again process. There is always a new day when we feel down or fall. I think life teaches similarities to the Batman Begins Phrase;
I hope this article gave you some insight of ways to live more with gratitude and to have a more positive outlook on life. :)
❤ ~ EM
Comments will be approved before showing up.